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Broncos GIFCap: Week 1 edition

The Denver Broncos dropped their opener to the Las Vegas Raiders 17-16 on Sunday afternoon. Here’s a recap using GIFs to best describe the game.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Sean Payton era of the Denver Broncos went off with a dud Sunday afternoon, as the team suffered a home loss to division foe Las Vegas Raiders 17-16.

The game had its ups and downs, and while there is reason to maintain a bit of optimism, it’s not going to overlook the fact the team has now lost seven straight to the Raiders and is once again starting the season 0-1.

Enough words have been written and spoken about the loss, so let’s take a look at the game using just GIFs.

Pre-game anticipation

The Broncos finally are back on the field with a qualified head coach, but after so many years of disappointment, emotions are a bit all over the place. Excited? Sure. Nervous? Very. What comes next is anyone’s guess.

Surprise onside to start the game!

Okay, Sean Payton is NOT messing around! The kick was not legally recovered, as Tremon Smith touched it too soon, but the new Denver head coach immediately let it be known he’s willing to strike in any way necessary.

Raiders strike first

Well, now that onside doesn’t look so great. The Raiders marched through Broncos territory with little resistance, taking an early 7-0 lead. Yay.

Is that...offense?

It is! The Denver Broncos and Russell Wilson looked, believe it or not, COMPETENT on their opening drive, driving 86 yards down the field and capping it off with a touchdown pass to Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Let’s go!

Missed PAT...of course

LOL...after an offseason of watching two kickers who weren’t good, each was cut and replaced with former Saints kicker Will Lutz, who immediately whiffed on his first PAT attempt. Poetic, in its own way.

ANOTHER passing touchdown and the halftime lead!

Now THIS is the offense fans expected when Russell Wilson was brought in. Right before the half, Wilson found Courtland Sutton for a quick touchdown, and the Broncos go into the locker room with a 13-10 lead and set to receive the second half kickoff. Things are looking up!

Cutting kind of close, aren’t we?

The second half did not exactly start off with the same offensive fireworks, as Will Lutz missed the uprights again, albeit on a much more difficult 55-yard field goal, and the Raiders nearly took the lead if not for Kareem Jackson’s interception in the end zone. Okay, stop playing around and put this thing away, please.

Why does it have to be this hard?

Failing to capitalize on the interception, the offense could not finish inside the Raiders’ 10-yard line and had to settle for a short field goal. It’s a 16-10 lead, but the momentum the Broncos had entering halftime was fading away.

Yep, the wheels are coming off

Oh look, another Raiders touchdown, and there goes the lead. Let the pessimism take over.

Game over...

The Broncos got the ball back with just over six and a half minutes remaining in the game and moved a total of seven yards before being forced to punt. The offense, that had been reliable and efficient until then, failed to execute, and the Raiders did just enough to kneel out the clock.

The season yet again starts with a 17-16 loss. New coach, same result.

Time to panic? Not yet, but...

The offense looked crisp in the first half, Russell Wilson looked back to his old form for much of the game, Javonte Williams ran hard, the line blocked well, and Josh Jacobs was held to just 48 yards on the ground.

Sean Payton can still coach, and taking into account the above, no one should be hitting the panic button just yet. But guess what?

It’s still a loss, it’s still a loss to the Raiders and Josh McDaniels, and there are glaring issues that need shoring up. There was absolutely zero pass rush, and the defense couldn’t get off the field in key moments.

It’s just one game in the earliest part of the season, but this team needs to pick it up. Here’s hoping to a much improved second week vs. the Washington Commanders.